I’m a landlord, why do I now need a CO and smoke alarm?
Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke alarms on every floor of a building as well a carbon monoxide alarms in their properties announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis on 11 March 2015.
These provisions have been put in place with the hopes of preventing 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year! Communities Minister Stephen Williams has commented stating
“People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm. That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.
When will these new measures take effect?
The new measures are expected to take effect from 1st October.
What will happen if I do not have these measures installed in my properties?
Those landlords who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be faced with up to £5,000 civil penalty.This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed. These measures are to go alongside other decisions the government has made to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.
What are smoke alarms?
Smoke alarms are self contained devices that incorporate a means of detecting a fire (smoke detector) and giving a warning (alarm). They are about the size of a hand and are normally fitted to the ceiling. They can detect fires in their early stages and give you those precious minutes to enable you and your family to leave your house in safety.
What are CO alarms?
Just like a smoke alarm which alerts you to the presence of smoke, a carbon monoxide (CO) detector will alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide. The difference with carbon monoxide that it is invisible and has no smell or taste, so you might not realise it is there. Smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide
How much will it cost to have CO and smoke alarm fitted?
No law states that a CO and smoke alarm must be fitted by qualified tradesman however, if you are a busy landlord with lots of properties do you really have time to research the best and safest alarms money can buy? Then to go around each of your properties fit an alarm in the best location? Why not let Fixed Price Trade do this for you? At the fixed price of £69 Fixed Price Trade will fit a CO alarm with a 7 year lithium battery at every one of your properties. Our Pros will know the safest location to place the alarms where needed. In addition our Pros are capable of visiting 30 properties a day therefore alarms can be fitted safely and quickly without any disruption to tenants.
What if I use a managing/letting agent?
If a managing agent is used to help you meet your duties, make sure that the management contract clearly specifies who is to make the arrangements for maintenance and safety checks. HSE strongly advises that you request to see copies of the maintenance information and safety check from the management agency to ensure maintenance has been completed, which will also help to fulfil your other legal duties. You do not want a £5,000 fine due to miscommunication with your letting agent
Tips for purchasing CO alarm
Before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer's instructions.
Buy an alarm with a lithium battery, the life of the alarm will last for 7 years, this means not having to rely on tenants to change alarms batteries often.
Tips for purchasing and maintaining your smoke alarm
Before purchasing a smoke alarm ensure it is easy to use and test.
Again a lithium battery alarm allows life span over 7 years less risk of tenants forgetting to change batter. If you do not have a lithium battery smoke alarm batteries must be changed regularly. Each alarm should be tested once a week by pressing the test button till the alarm sound and once a year change the battery. Twice a year gently vacuum the smoke alarm to rid sensors of dust.
After 10 years it’s best to get a whole new alarm.
For further information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tenants-safer-under-new-government-measures